Land Owner Transparency Registry
Many businesses may have recently received a letter from the BC Government regarding a Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) filing that needs to be completed by November 30, 2022. The required filing is mandated by the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA), a new provincial legislation which came into force on November 30, 2020. The legislation was enacted in support of the BC Government’s efforts to prevent tax evasion, tax fraud, and money laundering by increasing transparency on beneficial ownership in land.
Effective November 30, 2020, all “reporting bodies” are required to disclose specific information on all property “interest holders”. Certain information collected by the government will be made publicly searchable through a registry that will be administered by the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA).
What is considered a reporting body?
Reporting bodies include all types of corporations, trusts, and partnerships unless there is a specific exemption under LOTA.
Who is considered an interest holder?
Interest holders are individuals or entities who directly or indirectly hold a beneficial “interest in land” in BC. This includes corporate interest holders, beneficial owners, and partnership interest holders. An interest in land will include freehold interests, life interests, leasehold interests under a lease of more than 10 years, contractual rights to occupy or require the transfer of land, and any interests that may be prescribed by regulation.
What actions are required?
All reporting bodies will be required to file an initial transparency report with respect to any pre-existing interest in land by November 30, 2022. Only a legal professional can complete a filing on behalf of a reporting body.
After that, filing obligations under the Act will be triggered upon:
- the registration of a new interest in land; or
- a change in interest holdings in land.
In both instances, the transferee will be required to file a transparency declaration to disclose whether the transferee is a reporting body. If so, the transferee will be required to file a transparency report to identify the type of reporting body it is and disclose all required information about itself as the reporting body and all interest holders.
If an entity becomes a reporting body or learns that inaccurate information was reported, it will be required to file a transparency report within two months of the occurrence to disclose the required information or correct the inaccurate information previously reported.
What information will be made publicly available on the LOTR?
Primary identification information (including legal name, citizenship status, city of residence) of all reporting bodies and interest holders will be made publicly available and searchable. Information such as an interest holder’s residential address and social insurance number will only be accessible by government entities and law enforcement. LOTA provides for a 90-day window, from the time information is reported and before it is made publicly available, for applications to be made in support of keeping certain information confidential under special circumstances. As of April 30, 2021, members of the public can conduct searches in the LOTR.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
If a required transparency report is not submitted, the Land Title Office can refuse to register an interest or change of interest in land. The failure to file a transparency report or the reporting of false or misleading information can also result in fines of: (i) up to $50,000 for a corporation or other entity; (ii) up to $25,000 for individuals; or (iii) 15% of the assessed value of the property. Other offences under the Act may attract administrative penalties of up to $100,000 for corporations or other entities and up to $50,000 for individuals.
When should I consult a legal professional?
You may want to consult a legal professional for advice if:
- your company, trust, or partnership owns land in BC;
- you are purchasing or inherit land in BC; or
- you have or will be investing in real estate in BC.
For more information, please visit www.landtransparency.ca.
Please contact Alexandra Yallouz, Director of Policy and Communication at email@example.com for more information on compliancy requirements and next steps.